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Solar energy capabilities in the country

Published on 30th June, Edition 26, 2014

 

Solar energy is the radiant power produced through the sun. It is produced both through heat and light. It, along with secondary solar-powered resources such as wave and wind energy accounts for the majority of the renewable power on Earth. The Earth gets 174 petawatts (pw) of solar radiation at the upper atmosphere. 30 percent of that is reflected back to space and the rest is absorbed through oceans, clouds and land masses. Oceans, land surfaces and atmosphere absorb solar radiation, which raises their temperature. The total solar power absorbed by Earth’s atmosphere, landmasses and oceans is almost 3,850,000 exajoules (EJ) per year. Our food supply is totally dependent on solar power. After plants expire, they decay in the Earth, so solar power can be told to offer the biomass that has generated the fossil fuels that we are reliant on.

Humans harness solar power in various dissimilar ways: space cooling and heating, disinfection, lighting, hot water, the production of potable water by distillation and cooking. Pakistan is a place where it has a lot of solar potential. In Bahawalpur, with very little rain and a lot of sunshine, it makes the project possible and more economical. Quaid-e-Azam Solar Park project is a joint venture of Bank of Punjab and TBEA Ltd of China and the Government of Punjab. It is Pakistan’s first huge scale solar energy project and one of the greatest worldwide. It is said that this solar power park will start generating 100MW of electricity while the output of the solar power plant will reach 1,000MW by 2016. The plant will have 400 thousand solar panels and will be built for a predicted cost of $131 million with an energy generation ability of 100MW power. Once done, the project will produce approximately 2.5 times the energy that the huge 392MW Ivanpah solar-thermal plant in California does.

Work on the provision of infrastructure for Quaid-e-Azam Solar Park has been carried out quickly. Overall solar park, with 1000MW production capability is predicted to cost almost $1.5 billion. Predicted life of plant will be 25-year. It won’t be out of place to mention here that overall energy production of the country will be increased through new different electricity projects, while the country needs double the power of what it is presently generating. It advantages mentioning that 10 energy projects are also being installed in Thar to capitalize the solar heat for energy generation. Once completed, the country will stand in the catalog of major 10 states to generate greater than 1,000MW of solar energy. Laborers and engineers are working in the desert under the scorching sun to complete the boundary wall. There are up to 20 companies who are spending in this solar park and their projects are in the pipeline. Some of them are working on 50MW, some on 10 and others on 20. Despite of these, in solar energy 24 LOIs for cumulative capability of around 792.99MW on-grid solar PV energy plants have been issued. Four firms have presented the feasibility studies of their projects while one viability study is agreed through AEDB. Other sponsors are at the phase of preparation of viability studies. In addition, solar village electrification program was started under PM’s directive. 3,000 solar home systems have been fitted in 49-village of district Tharparkar. Further 300-village in Balochistan and 51-village in Sindh have been agreed for electrification utilizing solar power and will be applied soon. AEDB in light of SRO 575(1)12006 issued duty exemption certificates for a great number of solar modules/solar panels to private sector firms for generation/installation of approximately 64.57MW of power in Pakistan. These solar modules/solar panels are deployed in the whole country. However, AEDB issued tax exemption certificate for import of approximately 16,715 units of solar water heaters in Pakistan. These heaters are deployed in the entire country particularly in Gilgit-Baltistan, Balochistan, KPK and Northern Punjab. AEDB also issued tax exemption certificate for import of almost 1,429 units of solar water pumping system in Pakistan. These systems are fitted for community agriculture and drinking purpose all over the country.

 

Conclusion

For years, Pakistani citizens have cursed and sweated by summer energy cuts, but currently the Government of Pakistan plans to harness the sun’s ferocious heat to assist tackle the country’s serious power shortfall. It is hoped that the new solar park will make the country a leader in energy. The initial pilot project is a government scheme but private investors are also taking an interest. Experts said the cost of producing solar power from this project may be uneconomical for the government.

QUAID-E-AZAM SOLAR PARK
Overall capacity: 1,000 Mega Watts
Phase 1 Capacity: 100 MW
Completion of Phase 1: December 2014
Phase II Capacity: 300 MW
Phase III Capacity: 600 MW
Final Capacity: 1,000 MW
Completion of final phase: Dec 2016
Dedicated Area: 6500 Acres (Phase 1 Area: 500 Acres)
Boundary Wall: 9 KM
Annual solar Energy after final phase: 2,000 kWh/m2

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